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Residential Lending Glossary


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1031 exchange
An exchange of business or investment property for another property of equal or lesser value for which Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code 1031 allows capital-gains deferral. To satisfy the IRS regulations, a replacement property must be identified within 45 days of the sale of the original property and closing must occur within 180 days. Third-party 1031-exchange intermediaries, which monitor timing, prepare documentation and hold funds between sale and purchase, are often used. 

40-year amortization with 30-year term
A loan that is due in 30 years but that is based on a 40-year principal-and-interest payment schedule. This type of loan allows for lower payments over the loan term. A balloon payment is due at the end of the term.

4506, 4506-T or 8821
Consent forms that grant the lender rights to obtain and verify borrowers’ tax-return information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The forms are used for the following purposes:

  • Form 4506, “Request for Copy of Tax Return,” is used to obtain a complete copy of the tax returns submitted to the IRS.
  • Form 4506-T, “Request for Transcript,” is used to obtain a line-item summary of the tax returns submitted to the IRS, as well as 1099 and W-2 information.
  • Form 8821, “Tax Information Authorization,” is used to gain information about previous taxation issues. It is not used to obtain tax returns or transcripts.

A mortgage lender’s right to demand immediate payment from borrowers upon default of their loan. 

Acquisition and development
A loan provided for the purpose of developing raw land.

Additional advance
A supplemental loan given to borrowers while they are completing their mortgage transaction. These advances are often paid as a percentage of the mortgage.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage in which the interest rate is not fixed, but rather changes throughout the loan term. The type of ARM determines how often the rate changes and the index on which it is based.

A process by which borrowers make monthly principal payments to gradually reduce their mortgage debt.

Annual percentage rate (APR)
The annual cost associated with borrowed funds expressed as a percentage.

A dated, written document in which the property’s value has been determined by a qualified real estate expert. From a lending perspective, the appraised value is considered valid for 120 days.

The increase in value of an asset. Real estate may appreciate because of a number of factors, including: inflation-rate increases, limited supply of inventory, highly desired location or the local economy’s growth rate.

Automated underwriting system.

Automated valuation model (AVM)
A service that uses mathematical modeling to value properties. The majority of automated valuation models (AVMs) compare the values of similar properties at the same point in time. Many appraisers, and even Wall Street, use this type of model to value residential properties. Although these models are quick and cheap, they do not factor in the condition of the property to determine its value.

Bank statement (6 months/12 months)
Documentation type that provides verifiable income and assets and is typically an alternative to full-doc. To prove that borrowers have an income stream sufficient to pay the loan back, lenders may request six or 12 months of historical bank statements.

Berm homes
Energy-efficient homes that are built above-ground but that have earth mounded against the walls and sometimes over the roof. Having a portion of the home encased in earth helps regulate its inner temperature and prevents extreme temperature swings.

Biweekly mortgage
A lending structure in which half the monthly mortgage is paid every 14 days. This accelerates the amortization and results in one extra payment annually. 

Long-term debt sold to investors. Mortgage loans are often bundled together and sold as mortgage-backed bonds. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds generate new revenue streams for banks, allowing them to continue issuing new loans.

Branch Opportunities
Describes how mortgage bankers expand their companies. Branches are the brick-and-mortar faces of the mortgage banker. Scotsman Guide prints the Branch Opportunities Matrix, where mortgage bankers describe their requirements, products, services and options for people who want to be managers, originators, processors and underwriters. It is the mortgage industry's version of the franchising business model.

Bridge loan
A short-term loan issued to a borrower until permanent financing becomes available.

Building permit
A government-issued document that gives a builder authority to construct or modify a structure.

A lump sum paid when initiating a mortgage to ensure a lower interest rate. A buydown can be either permanent for the life of the loan or temporary, typically lasting for the first few years of the mortgage.

Capital gain
The difference between an asset’s appreciation and the price paid when it was initially acquired.

Example: A homeowner who buys a house for $200,000 and sells it for $350,000 makes a $150,000 capital gain (profit).

Capital-gains tax
Tax on profits received from the sale of capital assets.

Cash-out refinance
Refinancing a current mortgage at a higher loan amount and taking the difference in cash.

Closing costs
Fees associated with the acquisition of real estate. These include, but are not limited to, lender fees, credit checks, title insurance and survey and recording fees.

Cash out (CO, C/O)
A mortgage-refinancing transaction in which the new mortgage amount is greater than the existing mortgage amount, plus loan settlement costs. The purpose of a cash-out refinance is to extract equity from the borrower's home. A cash-out refinance is an alternative to a home-equity loan.

Combined loan to value (CLTV)
A percentage that represents the total of all mortgages on a property divided by the property value. 

Example: A borrower’s residence is valued at $200,000. Currently, there are two mortgages on the property — one of $100,000 and one of $50,000, equaling $150,000. Dividing the total of the outstanding mortgages by the property value, the CLTV is 75 percent. 

Used to determine the market value of a property, based on comparisons of like-properties sold within a specific geographical area and time period. Also known as comps. 

Condos: High-rise
A property complex, typically containing more than eight stories, that is divided into individual units, with those units sold separately.

Condos: Low-rise
A property complex, usually no more than four stories, that typically contains 20 or more units that are individually sold.

Condo (Nonwarrantable)
A large property complex that is divided into individual units and sold. Nonwarrantable condos are not approved by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Condos can be classified as nonwarrantable for a number of reasons, including:

  • the project is still in the early development phase
  • the condo association has not been established or is still under developer control
  • common areas are not complete
  • minimum number of units have not been sold
  • condos have recently been converted from apartments
  • there are many non-owner-occupied units in the complex

A condominium that is operated like a hotel, including a front desk, short-term unit rentals and housekeeping.

Construction-completion loan
A loan provided to cover project cost overruns. Typically, a bank will lend a set amount for construction projects, and if borrowers experience cost overruns, they are required to pay them (no additional bank funding is available). If borrowers experience a cash shortfall, construction-completion loans cover the difference. Because the borrower is typically in a critical situation, the interest rates on these loans are generally higher.

Construction loan
A loan issued for the construction or major renovation of a property. As work is completed during the various stages of construction, money is paid out to borrowers incrementally in the form of draws.

A loan available to borrowers who have an agreement with a contractor to build their home. The borrower has one closing and signs just one set of loan documents instead of having separate loans to cover the construction and permanent phases.

Funds reserved as a buffer to cover any cost overruns or unexpected expenses. In loan underwriting, this is often added to the estimated cost of a construction project. Typically calculated as a percentage of estimated construction costs.

Convertible mortgage
An adjustable-rate mortgage with an option to convert to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Transfer of a property title from one individual to another. Buyers must ensure the purchased property is free from any restrictions and that they obtain all rights associated with the land.

Multiple residents of a building own shares in the corporation that owns the building, thus allowing them the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit.

Corporate apartments
Fully furnished apartments that provide an alternative to hotels for businesspeople who are relocating or working away from home for a period of time. 

Correspondent (lender)
A correspondent lender is a mortgage broker/banker who originates, funds and then sells the mortgage loan through a correspondent lender relationship to a larger lender, in accord with the larger lender's underwriting guidelines and program offerings.

Cost-of-Funds Index (COFI)
The weighted-average interest rate paid by savings institutions in the 11th Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) district for their sources of funds, which include checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money-market deposit accounts, passbook accounts, advances from the FHLB of San Francisco and money borrowed from other banks or financial institutions. This index is often used as a basis for adjustable-rate mortgages.

Credit report
A record of consumers’ credit activities. These activities are tracked by three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, four main categories are documented in personal credit reports:

  1. Identifying information: Full name, any known aliases, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, year of birth, current and past employers and, if applicable, similar information about spouses.
  2. Credit information: Accounts held with banks, retailers, credit card issuers, utility companies and other lenders. Listed by type of loan, such as mortgage, student loan, revolving credit or installment loan; the date the account was opened; the credit limit or loan amount; any co-signers of the loan; and consumers’ payment pattern over the past two years.
  3. Public-records information: State and county court records on bankruptcy, tax liens or monetary judgments. Some consumer-reporting agencies also list nonmonetary judgments.
  4. Recent inquiries: The names of those who have obtained copies of the consumer’s credit report within the past year or two years for employment purposes.

Credit score
A numerical valuation based on personal credit reports that is used to evaluate a borrower’s credit risk. The range on credit scores is 300 to 850. Also referred to as FICO score.

Cross Collateralization
The act of using an asset, which is currently being used as collateral for a loan, as collateral for a second loan. If the debtor is unable to make either loan's scheduled repayments in time, the affected lender(s) can eventually force the liquidation of the asset and use the proceeds for repayment.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
A calculation based on total monthly debt payments divided by total monthly income. This is a percentage-based result and measures the level of lending risk.

Deed of trust
A state-law construct that documents the pledge of real property to secure a loan.  The deed of trust involves the trustor (borrower), the beneficiary (lender) and the trustee. The trustee is a third party who holds the title and is empowered to foreclose on the property should the trustor default.

Occurs when a debtor fails to pay a mortgage loan, resulting in a breach of contract.

Deferred interest
Interest that accrues but remains unpaid. For instance, on some adjustable-rate mortgages for which borrowers choose a fixed monthly payment, the monthly payment may not satisfy the entire monthly expense as the interest rate changes. The outstanding unpaid interest is added to the loan amount. 

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
A department of the federal government that promotes private and public housing. HUD is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of color, religion, sex or disability. The Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae are agencies within HUD.

Desktop Originator (DO)
Fannie Mae's automated tool that allows mortgage brokers to submit online loan applications to approved Fannie Mae lenders.

Desktop Underwriter (DU)
Fannie Mae’s automated tool that assists lenders in underwriting conforming mortgage loans.

Dodd-Frank Act
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) established the ability-to-repay rules and created the presumption of compliance for products called Qualified Mortgages (QMs).

Dome home
An energy-efficient home design patented by R. Buckminster Fuller. The design is a pared-down structure, which is intended to be analogous to nature’s own designs. The lower outside surface area helps create greater energy efficiency.

A borrower’s initial contribution toward a property purchase. To obtain a loan, most lending programs require some form of downpayment, based on a percentage of the total purchase price.

Draws on demand
Taking funds from a construction budget to pay suppliers and contractors on demand.

Dry closing
A dry closing occurs usually when there has been some type of delay in the funding of the loan required for a real estate transaction. Usually, funds have been approved and are fairly guaranteed. Although a normal closing usually includes necessary paperwork and the exchange of funds, a dry closing is performed with no exchange of funds. It could take a couple of days or even a couple of weeks for the funds to be deposited.

Due-diligence fees
An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regard to a sale. Offers to purchase an asset are usually dependent on the results of due-diligence analysis. This includes reviewing all financial records plus anything else deemed material to the sale. Sellers could also perform a due-diligence analysis on the buyer. Items that may be considered are the buyer's ability to purchase, as well as other items that would affect the purchased entity or the seller after the sale has been completed.

The Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) grants an EB-5 Visa to a foreign investor in a new commercial enterprise. Investments have to meet location and job-creation criteria.

The difference between a property’s market value and the outstanding loan amount.

Example: Homeowners whose home is valued at $200,000 and who have a $150,000 outstanding mortgage have $50,000 in equity. 

Escrow account
A trust account in which cash or other assets are held to pay for expenses pending satisfaction of contractual obligations. 

Example:  An escrow account to pay for real estate taxes can be established to automatically pay a homeowner’s taxes at year-end.

Estate (property in probate)
All properties that are titled to a homeowner who is recently deceased. The property is ultimately distributed according to the decedent’s will or the state's probate legislation.

Fannie Mae
A government-sponsored enterprise that purchases loans from various lending institutions, bundles them together and sells them as mortgage-backed securities. Fannie Mae does not lend funds directly, but by securitizing the loans, it frees capital for lending institutions, making funds available for future lending. Also known as Federal National Mortgage Association and FNMA.

Fannie Mae MyCommunityMortgage
According to Fannie Mae, a loan program designed to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income borrowers.

FHA Direct Endorsement
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the mechanism that enables HUD/Federal Housing Administration-approved lenders to consider single-family mortgage applications without first submitting paperwork to HUD.

Fidelity Bond
A form of business insurance that offers an employer protection against losses — either monetary or physical — caused by its employees' fraudulent or dishonest actions. Fidelity bonds are often held by insurance companies and brokerage firms, which are specifically required to carry protection proportional to their net capital. Among the possible forms of loss covered by fidelity bonds are fraudulent trading, theft and forgery.

Items that are attached to a property. These may include heating and air-conditioning systems, wall-mounted shelves and security systems.

Flood zone
A geographical area officially designated by the federal government, subject to potential flood damage. Lenders must complete a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood-hazard-determination form prior to funding a property. If the property is situated in a potential flood zone, it is required to carry flood-insurance protection. The 100-year flood plain — or areas where floods have a 1-percent chance of equaling or exceeding the elevation each year — is the basis for most FEMA determinations.

Foreign national
An individual who is currently in the country but who has not been granted the legal right to permanent residency. 

Forward commitment
A lender’s promise to make a loan at a future date.

Fractional ownership
Collective ownership between a group of individuals who purchase a property, typically a second or vacation home. Shares of ownership are typically purchased from a management company, which also maintains the property’s scheduled usage and maintenance. Real estate fractional owners purchase in equally divided portions — fourths, eights, etc.

Free and clear
Ownership of an asset without debt obligations.

Freddie Mac
A government-sponsored enterprise that purchases loans from various lending institutions, bundles them together and sells them as mortgage-backed securities on the stock market. Although Freddie Mac does not provide loans directly to consumers, by securitizing loans, it frees valuable funds for future loans. Also known as Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. and FHLMC.

Documentation type that has verifiable income, employment and assets. This is the most complete loan-documentation type available and is often associated with the most-favorable lending rates.

Garden apartments
First-floor or basement apartments with access to a garden or communal lawn. The term also can apply to apartments within a complex that features garden spaces as an amenity.

Ginnie Mae
A government-owned agency that buys mortgages from lending institutions, securitizes them and then sells them to investors, primarily loans insured or made by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Rural Housing Service and the Office of Public and Indian Housing. Payments to investors are guaranteed by the U.S. government and, as a result, carry a slightly lower return on investment. Ginnie Mae does not lend funds directly, but by securitizing the loans, it frees capital for lending institutions, thus making funds available for future lending. Also known as Government National Mortgage Association and GNMA.

Good-faith deposit
A monetary deposit made by a purchaser to indicate genuine interest in the purchase of a property.

Good-faith estimate
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires mortgage lenders to give borrowers a written estimate of closing costs associated with the loan, within three days of loan application.

Graduated-payment mortgage
A loan designed to start with smaller initial payments. Payments then increase at a predetermined rate.

The underwriting software used by USDA.

Hard money loans
A type of financing that typically provides funds for hard-to-fund projects or short-term purposes. Hard money lenders generally give more consideration to the value of the property or collateral rather than to credit history. Loan-to-value ratios are usually less than 75 percent and credit scores, if required, can be less than 500. Hard money lending is also referred to as equity lending.

Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
A mortgage-refinancing program offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to homeowners who own homes that are worth less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
A revolving, open-ended source of credit, secured by the borrower’s residence. The line is typically designed to offer interest-only repayment of draws for 10 years, after which the loan become fully amortizing, which requires repayment of principal and interest.

HUD-1 settlement statement
A form prepared by the closing agent that documents the distribution of the mortgage loan amount and the associated costs and fees incurred in closing a mortgage transaction.

Hybrid ARM
A hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage blending the characteristics of a fixed-rate mortgage and a regular adjustable-rate mortgage. This type of mortgage will have an initial fixed interest rate period followed by an adjustable-rate period. After the fixed interest rate expires, the interest rate starts to adjust based on an index plus a margin. The date at which the mortgage changes from the fixed rate to the adjustable rate is referred to as the reset date. Also known as "fixed period ARMs."

Improved land
A parcel of land that has been developed for use. Improvements may include electrical, water, telephone or sewer lines, grading, landscaping, roads or gutters, and construction of permanent structures.

A published rate lenders use to structure adjustable loans. The rate is used as a benchmark when repricing loans at their stated intervals. Although there are several indexes used as a basis, the most common are U.S. Treasury bills, London Interbank Offered Rate, Wall Street Journal Prime, Prime, 12-month treasury average and the cost-of-funds index.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
An alternative to a Social Security number, which is used for federal and state taxation purposes. ITINs are assigned to people who do not qualify for Social Security numbers, such as aliens working in the United States.

Installment loan
A loan that requires regular, fixed payments over a specific period of time, such as car and student loans.

The price paid for borrowing money, calculated on an annual percentage basis.

Interest-only payment loan
A mortgage in which the borrower’s payment goes entirely to the interest accrued on the loan and does not pay off any of the principal balance. The interest-only feature is set for a fixed amount of time (e.g., five or 10 years), after which time the payment will reset and a new loan payment will be established. The new amount is typically higher and includes payments to both interest and principal.

Interest rate cap
A provision made on adjustable-rate mortgages to limit the maximum possible interest rate. This protects borrowers from rapidly increasing interest rates and payment shock.

Interim financing
A short-term loan issued before permanent financing.

Investment property
Real estate owned for income or capital appreciation rather than the owner’s personal use.

Interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL)
A mortgage-refinancing program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to homeowners with VA loans. The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) is a VA-loan-to-VA-loan process, designed to allow homeowners to refinance a fixed loan at a lower interest rate or to convert an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) into a fixed-rate mortgage.

Joint tenancy
An ownership structure between two or more people. Under joint-tenancy law, if one of the owners dies, the surviving owners are granted the decedent’s interest.

Example: If a parent and child are joint tenants on a home, the child takes sole ownership of the home if the parent dies. As joint tenants in the property, no will is required to complete the transfer of ownership.

Jumbo loans
A loan that exceeds the maximum loan amount under Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s guidelines.

Leasehold improvements
The cost of improvements made on leased property, often paid by the tenant.

LIBOR rate
London Interbank Offered Rate. This index is used to price warehouse lending, the mechanism lenders use to fund mortgage bankers.

A legal claim against an asset for an outstanding debt. If the asset is sold, all liens against the asset must be cleared before a transfer of title can occur.

Loan-to-value ratio (LTV)
A percentage calculated by dividing the loan balance of a property by its market value. The difference between the LTV offered by a mortgage lender and the value of the asset is the downpayment.

Loan Prospector (LP)
Freddie Mac's automated tool for risk assessment and access to credit and pricing terms.

Committing to the interest rate and points on a loan before funding. In a fluctuating interest rate environment, it may be beneficial for borrowers to secure a particular interest rate while their loan is still in process.

Lock-out period
A set time after a mortgage is originated and funded in which prepayment of the loan is not allowed.

Lock without property address
Securing an interest rate with a mortgage lender before knowing the subject property’s address.

A risk-assessment tool that shows Freddie Mac’s credit and pricing terms.

Manufactured homes (post-1976)
Prefabricated houses that are built in a factory. In 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established a consumer-protection program to regulate the manufacture of factory-built housing. Each home bears a red label indicating it has met the construction and safety standard. According to HUD, standards cover “body and frame requirements, thermal protection, plumbing, electrical, fire safety and other aspects of the home.”

Manufactured homes (pre-1976)
Prefabricated houses that are built in a factory and then towed to the property site where they will be occupied. Before 1976, manufactured homes were commonly referred to as mobile homes.

Market value
Determined by a property appraisal, an estimate of what a buyer would expect to pay for an asset under current market conditions.

The time at which a loan’s principal balance must be paid.

Mortgage-insurance premium.

Mixed-use properties
Properties built/zoned for commercial and residential use. They typically feature ground-level commercial space with residential apartments or condominiums above.

Mobile home w/vehicular title
A dwelling that is built on an internal chassis, assembled in a factory and transported in one or more sections. Like cars, mobile homes require a certificate of title.

Modular homes
Prefabricated houses that are built in a factory and then transported to a property site by truck and assembled onsite. Modular homes differ from manufactured homes in that they lack axles and a frame and are transported in sections on a flatbed truck rather than towed as a complete structure.

A loan that is paid over time and secured by real estate. The lender retains the legal right to sell the property if there is a breach in contract, such as a failure to pay.

Mortgage Deed
A state-law construct that documents the pledge of real property to secure a loan. There are two parties to a mortgage, the mortgagor (borrower) and the mortgagee (lender). The mortgage deed creates a lien on the property.

Mortgage broker
An individual who sources mortgage loans and serves as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. Brokers charge a fee for their services, which is typically based on a percentage of the loan amount.

Properties that are constructed with five or more residential units, like apartment buildings, student housing, condominium buildings and senior housing.

Negative amortization
Occurs when monthly payments are not large enough to pay the monthly interest on a mortgage. Consequently, the outstanding interest due is added to the unpaid principal balance. While the borrower makes consistent monthly payments, over time, it is possible to owe significantly more in principal than when the loan was originally acquired.

Net-branch broker
An outpost or home office for a broker associated with a lender in another area. Net-branch brokers typically purchase their own equipment and hire their own support staff. Compensation, support and other benefits come from the home office and vary greatly among lenders.

Net-branch company
An umbrella organization that hires professionals to originate loans at a branch location on its behalf.  Advantages include being able to focus primarily on loan originations and less on the operational aspects, to offer a wider range of products and to originate loans in more states. Each net-branch company is structured differently, and the level of support and fees vary significantly. Typically, the branch operator receives the “net profits” from the loan, and the net-branch company receives an administrative fee and/or some portion of the commission. State laws vary and net-branching arrangements may be illegal in some states.

Documentation type in which lenders do not verify the borrower's employment, income or assets. No-doc loans are made by equity lenders that base the lending decision on the LTV.

No income, no assets (NINA)
Documentation type in which employment is verifiable, but income and assets are not.

No income, stated assets (NISA)
Documentation type in which the borrower is unable to verify income. Borrower has assets but the value is not documented.

No income, verified assets (NIVA)
Documentation type in which the borrower’s employment and assets are verifiable, but income is not.

A mortgage that does not meet the guidelines of government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and therefore cannot be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. GSE guidelines consist of a maximum loan amount, suitable properties, downpayment requirements and credit requirements, among other things.

Non-owner-occupied property
Income-producing property in which the owner does not live or operate a business. Many lenders consider non-owner-occupied properties to be higher-risk, and as a result, mortgages for these properties may carry a higher interest rate.

Nonprime loan
A non-conventional and/or non-QM mortgage loan product. These loans vary from the QM standards for loan amount, credit and DTI. Also known as subprime. These mortgages are not eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Non-qualifying mortgage (Non-QM)
Mortgage loans that don't fit the ability-to-repay guidelines associated with Dodd-Frank regulations. These loans are not eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are held in portfolio and there is a small secondary market for securitized non-QM loans.

Nonrecourse loan
A loan that is secured by collateral (e.g., a home or building), but for which the borrower is not held personally liable. If the lender seizes the property and the sale does not cover the loan, the borrower is not responsible for the shortfall. Nonrecourse loans typically have a lower loan to value (80 percent to 90 percent) to ensure the lender is protected should the loan go into default.

Non-warrantable condominiums
Condominiums that are not approved for FHA or Fannie Mae financing and leave few options for borrowers. Buyers can either pay cash or try to secure a loan through a local bank. In this situation, borrowers should expect high downpayments of potentially 50 percent or more and significantly higher-than-average interest rates.

Notice of default (NOD)
A public notice filed with a court stating that a mortgage borrower is behind in payments.

Notice of sale (NOS)
A public notice filed with a court stating the sale of a property.

No-payment option
A loan feature that allows borrowers to defer making payments for a specified period of time.

No ratio
Documentation type in which no income verification is needed and therefore no DTI is calculated. This documentation type is used when refinancing underwater borrowers through HARP and IRRRL programs.

On-time completion bonus
A bonus given to a contractor for finishing the construction of a home or commercial project within the allotted timeframe.

Option ARM
An adjustable-rate mortgage where the borrower has a choice of a predetermined payment option each month. Using the lowest payment option will result in unpaid interest being added to the loan principal  (negative amortization). The option ARM is a non-QM mortgage product.

A homeowner or property owner who assumes responsibility for the overall job of building a property, rather than using a general contractor.

Payment cap
A provision on some adjustable-rate mortgage agreements that limits the maximum monthly payment to protect the borrower from payment shock.

Permanent-resident aliens
Foreigners who have been granted permanent residence in the United States and have been issued a permanent-resident card (green card) but who do not have U.S. citizenship. For tax purposes, permanent residents are taxed on their global income.

The sum of the principal, interest, taxes and insurance on a mortgaged property, expressed in a monthly timeframe. Mortgage lenders use the number when determining the borrower's DTI and it is often a measure of seasoned reserves the borrower needs to qualify for the mortgage.

Acronym that stands for Property Inspection Waiver.

Pledged-asset option
Loan program that allows borrowers to qualify for mortgages by pledging their asset(s) as collateral.

Describe a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. Discount points are prepaid interest. Borrowers pay them to reduce the interest rate. An origination fee is charged by the lender to cover its costs. That fee is measured in points.

Power of attorney
The legal right to make decisions on another’s behalf.

Early repayment of a loan.

Prepayment penalty
A fee charged to borrowers for early repayment of their loan. When a lender issues a note, it anticipates a guaranteed rate of return on its investment. If the loan is paid off early, this has financial impact on the lender; consequently, this is passed on to the borrower in the form of a prepayment penalty. Although it varies on a case-by-case basis, the fee is often calculated based on a percentage of the overall loan and gradually decreases over time.

Example: Borrowers may incur a 10-percent prepayment fee if the note is for held less than a year, but if the note is held for 10 years, they may be charged a 1-percent fee.

Pricing engine
Software used by loan originators to determine the interest rate and points to charged to the borrower.

Prime loan
Scotsman Guide defines prime loans as those that have traditional conforming credit guidelines, yet include loans exceeding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits (i.e., jumbo loans). Minimum FICO scores are 620 and greater, few late payments are allowed (zero or one within 12 months) and traditional documentation and underwriting criteria are expected.

Prime rate
The interest rate that commercial banks charge their most credit-worthy customers. Generally a bank's best customers consist of large corporations. The prime interest rate, or prime lending rate, is largely determined by the federal funds rate, which is the overnight rate which banks lend to one another. The prime rate is also important for retail customers, as the prime rate directly affects the lending rates which are available for mortgage, small business and personal loans.

Principal reductions with reamortization
Reducing the loan’s principal balance and applying the existing interest rate to the remaining principal over the life of the original loan term.

Private money
Typically short-term, high-interest rate loans by private individuals or small companies. Although the rates for these loans are often higher than conventional loans, private-money loans are often available when other lending sources aren’t. Also known as hard money.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
Insurance coverage that protects the lender in the event of a loan default. When borrowers take a loan with less than 20 percent toward the purchase price, lenders often require PMI.

Qualified mortgage (QM)
This rule and the ability-to-repay rule require mortgage lenders to make a reasonable and good-faith determination that the borrower has the ability to repay the loan. There are restrictions on points and fees charged to the borrower as well. If the lender follows the detailed and restrictive rules, it gets a safe harbor — or at least a rebuttable presumption of compliance. Qualified mortgages are eligible for purchase and securitization by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Quit-claim deed
A recorded document indicating one party has terminated its interest in real property.

Raw land
Land that remains unused and in its natural state. Raw land is historically free from any improvements such as grading, construction or subdividing.

Rebuttable presumption
A legal defense to a claim that a mortgage lender did not properly assess the borrower's ability to repay.  It applies to higher-priced qualified mortgages (the mortgage’s rate exceeds the average rate for a prime mortgage by more than 1.5 percentage points for a purchase). Non-higher-priced qualified mortgages enjoy a presumption the lender complied with the ability-to-repay rules.

Process by which a loan is paid off with proceeds received from a new loan. The same property is used as collateral for the new loan. Loans may be refinanced for several reasons, including more-favorable terms, change of lenders, access to equity, change of guarantors, etc.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is administered and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The act provides for a required and standardized good-faith estimate and it improved the HUD-1 to give consumers the ability to shop settlement service providers and to determine if their actual closing costs are within tolerance requirements.

Reverse mortgage
A mortgage in which homeowners aged 62 or older can receive payments by borrowing against the present and future equity of their primary residence. It can be used to purchase a primary residence. It is known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which is the name of the FHA-administered mortgage insurance for these loans. The loan is repaid when the last owner of the home dies or moves away permanently, and the home is sold.

Right of rescission 
A three-day period after refinancing or obtaining a line of credit during which borrowers can back out of the loan.

Rural properties
Dwellings located in areas of low-population density.

Seasoned loans
Traditionally, loans held for more than one year. However, in the rapidly changing rate environment, seasoning is often quantified in months.

The maximum period of time that the most recent appraisal can be considered valid.

The minimum period of time that borrowers must own their home before they can refinance or sell their home.

Seasoning/source of funds
The minimum period of time that borrowers must have downpayment funds in their possession.

Second dwelling on a single tax lot
A residence that is located on the same parcel of land as another residence.

Second home (vacation home)
A home owned in addition to the owner’s primary residence.

Second mortgage
A mortgage where the property has already been pledged as collateral. Second mortgages became popular as a means to provide the borrower additional cash for debt consolidation, remodeling and other expenses, and also as a way to avoid paying private mortgage insurance on highly leveraged properties. The second mortgage is subordinate to the first mortgage.

Seller carry-back
An agreement in which the seller provides financing for all or part of the purchase price.

Short sale
The sale of a residence with a mortgage balance that exceeds the selling price. It was a common remedy for underwater homeowners who experienced sharp reductions in home values during the Great Recession.

Speculative home (spec home)
A new home that is being constructed without a prospective buyer in place.

Stated income, stated assets (SISA)
Documentation type in which the borrower has verifiable employment but cannot verify income or assets. Interest rates for this type of loan are typically higher.

Stated income, verified assets (SIVA)
Documentation type in which borrowers have verifiable employment and assets, but cannot verify income. Instead, they state what their income is. Typical borrowers for this loan type work on commission or have a significant amount of income from tips (e.g., restaurant wait staff). Assets are verified through bank and brokerage accounts, etc.

Streamline financing
Refinancing a mortgage with reduced paperwork and underwriting standards. Streamlines are associated with FHA-insured loans because of the name, but the same principle is applied to some conventional refinancing programs.

Subdivision construction loans
Loans for the construction of single-family and multifamily subdivisions, typically ranging from two to 30 homes. Financing is provided for all phases, including land acquisition, development and construction.

Subordinate financing
A secondary or “junior” lien on a property. If there is a foreclosure, the primary lien holder is paid first. For lenders, taking a subordinate position involves more risk, as well as the potential that they won’t get paid in a foreclosure situation. Consequently, the interest rate is usually higher.

See Nonprime.

Sweat equity
Providing labor, rather than cash, toward the completion of a project. Often, this term applies to a property under construction for which the owners do some of the work. This is a cost-saving technique with a fair market value. Lenders accept sweat equity on a case-by-case basis, which varies by lender.

Tenants in common (TIC)
Two or more individuals holding title to a property.

Evidence of legal ownership. With real estate, it establishes the owner’s right to occupy and eventually sell the property without a third-party interest.

Title insurance
Insurance policy that protects borrowers and lenders against title defects. The fee for this is typically included in real estate closing costs and paid to a title company or attorney who provides due diligence to ensure the property is marketable.

Trust deed
See Deed of trust.

Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
Federal regulations governing residential-mortgage lending.

The experience of homeowners who had mortgage balances that exceeded the sharply reduced home values during the Great Recession.

Process used by lenders to determine borrower eligibility and ability to repay a loan. A number of factors are evaluated, including personal credit history, financial statements, employment history and salary.

Loan program offered to U.S. veterans and active service members with minimal fees, no mortgage insurance and no downpayment.

Verified income, no assets (VINA)
Documentation type in which the borrower has income that is verifiable (via bank statements, W-2s or company statements) but is unable to document asset value. Although the borrower may have assets, their true value is unknown and often cannot be verified until a sale takes place (e.g., an antique car).

Warehouse lending facility
A general descriptor of the warehouse facility, repurchase facility, line of credit and purchase-and-sale facility models for interim mortgage funding. Mortgage bankers and brokers use these facilities to fund mortgage loans in-house.

Warehouse line
A line of credit extended to mortgage bankers to allow them to provide mortgage loans. With the line, they often can make quicker lending decisions and fund loans faster than the typical bank-approval process.

Wet funding
The property seller will receive funds right away. After the transfer of funds, the bank will receive the loan documentation for review. Wet loans expedite the purchasing process by allowing the sale to occur before the paperwork. However, the added benefit of fast transactions comes at the price of increased risk. Because the seller receives funds before the paperwork is approved, the possibility of fraud and a loan default is greater.

Yield-spread premium (YSP)
A form of compensation that a mortgage broker, acting as the intermediary, receives from the original lender for selling an interest rate to a borrower that is above the lender's par rate for which the borrower qualifies. The yield-spread premium must be disclosed on the HUD-1 Form when the loan is closed.

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